Your Man in the Hague (in a Good Way). 226

I attended the hearing on Thursday of South Africa’s case against Israel for genocide at the International Court of Justice. I was able to sit in the public gallery and watch all the proceedings. I was, however, handicapped in reporting by the fact that we were not allowed pens or pencils (though we were allowed paper). I asked the Head of Security at the ICJ why pens were not allowed in the public gallery. He told me, with a perfectly straight face, that they could be used as a weapon. So bereft of my deadly ballpoint, this account is less detailed and more impressionistic than I would wish to give you.

I had arrived at the Hague early Wednesday morning on 10 January, having flown in from Indonesia. This had involved four flights, to Singapore, Milan, Copenhagen and finally Schiphol. Wednesday was spent in a frantic search of the charity shops of the Hague for warm clothing, as I had only beach clothes with me apart from a friends’ old ski jacket. I called first at the ICJ to get information on how to attend Thursday morning’s session.

A young lady informed me that I had to queue outside the small arched gate in the wall. It would open at 6am and the first 15 members of the public would be admitted to the gallery. I asked where I should queue exactly. She said she doubted it was necessary, it should be fine to arrive at 6am on Thursday.

I am staying in a hotel just five minutes’ walk away, so at 10pm on Wednesday evening, with the temperature already at -4°C, I went to check if a queue had formed. Nobody was there. I returned to the hotel, but every hour went to check for a queue I should join. Nobody was there at midnight or 1am, but at 2am there were already 8 people, sat around in three very cold little groups. Everybody looked extremely cold, but everybody was friendly and talkative.

The first group, right next to the gate, consisted of three young Dutch women, who sat on a blanket and were well provided with flasks of hot coffee and boxes of baklava. The second group were three young students of international law, all of them Arabs, who had attended other cases and knew the ropes here. The third group were two young women, one Dutch and one Arab, sitting on a bench, looking cold and miserable.

We were soon all talking together and it was plain that every one of us was motivated by support for the Palestinians in their struggle against the relentless occupation. Shortly afterwards, another Arab gentleman arrived, older and authoritative, who rather incongruously had been schooled in Scotland at Gordonstoun. A tall Tunisian man kept walking back and forth making phone calls; he appeared pre-occupied and rather shy.

We had all been given similar information about the number of people who would be admitted, though some had been told 15, some 14 and some 13. Our numbers were stable at 12 for several hours. Then about 4.30am a car drew up and out jumped Varsha Gandikota-Nellutla of Progressive International. She had come as a place-keeper for Jeremy Corbyn and Jean-Luc Mélenchon. Others of her organisation arrived bit by bit. Then as 6am approached, there started a small flood of people arriving, many with Palestinian flags and wearing keffiyehs.

It really was seriously cold. After four hours my toes had gone from very painful to having no feeling, and my fingers were becoming unresponsive. As so often, from 5am the cold grew more and more invasive. Mélenchon and Corbyn had arrived at 5.30am to take their places in the queue, Mélenchon as voluble as ever, wide awake, delighted to meet everybody, and lecturing on economics and the organisation of society to anybody who would listen. As my brain had by now frozen, that did not really include me. Jeremy was equally typically Jeremy, concerned that he did not want to take anybody’s position in the queue.

Then as preparations to open the gate began on the other side, things took an unpleasant turn. Those of us who had been there all night knew our order of arrival, but we began to be swamped by latecomers pushing past and around us to get to the gate. I had to be assertive and try to marshal the queue. Activists in the crowd challenged this, suggesting that the criterion for entry should not be time of arrival, but that Palestinians should be given the places.

It all became distressing. One Palestinian lady from Sweden who was just behind 14th in the queue became deeply distressed at the idea of not being admitted, and a couple of Palestinian gentlemen who had arrived after 6am started to determinedly push past the queue. I made a little counter speech explaining that we were all here to help the Palestinians, but none of us knew each other’s stories, and the question of what use someone’s attendance would be to the Palestinian cause was as important as gratifying individual feelings of the terribly aggrieved.

The diffident Tunisian was replaced in the queue by the former Tunisian President whose place he had been keeping – a really pleasant and diffident man, but the timing did not help the situation. In the end we were admitted in groups of five and processed. One of the Dutch ladies who had been the very first to arrive gave up her place to a Palestinian. I left clutching my pass, number 9, and returned to the hotel and straight into a hot bath. The pain from my toes and fingers as they thawed was really unpleasant.

Then it was quickly back for 9am and a lot of excessive security hassle and removal of deadly wallets and pens. Then we were escorted into the public gallery.

The Palace of Peace was built by Andrew Carnegie, the extraordinarily morally complex Fifer, a vicious and incredibly successful capitalist monopolist who also wished to end all war and to improve the lives of the poor everywhere. Its fairytale appearance, with its folly of a tower perched on a tower, belies its steel frame and concrete construction, and inside it could be any grand City Chambers in Scotland, with majolica tiling and solid Armitage Shanks in the toilets. Extraordinarily, the building is still owned and managed by the Carnegie Foundation.

For a building that was built as a world court, strangely it does not appear to contain a court room. The Grand Chamber is just a large empty hall, taking up one side-wing of the building. A comparatively modern, simple and gently curved dais has been inserted across the length of the hall and held a long table and seventeen chairs for the judges, but this structure looked temporary, as if it gets taken away and the building used for weddings. The parties to the case were seated on simple stacking chairs arranged in the body of the hall beneath the dais, again looking more like a wedding than a court. Above the judges spread a mighty stained-glass window, of garish colours and rather dubious quality.

I have written of my faith in the International Court of Justice, in its history of impartial judgment and in its system of election by the UN General Assembly. The ICJ has rather unfairly been tarnished by the reputation of its much younger sister the International Criminal Court. The ICC is rightly derided as a Western tool, but that really is not true of the ICJ. On Palestine alone, it has ruled that the Israeli “wall” in the West Bank is illegal and that Israel has no right of self-defence in the territory of which it is the occupying power. It ruled that the UK must decolonise the Chagos Islands, a cause close to my own heart.

There was every reason for those of us opposing the genocide to have travelled hopefully to the Hague.

In addition to the normal fifteen judges of the court, each of the parties to the dispute – South Africa and Israel – had exercised their right to nominate an additional judge. After the judges filed in to the court, proceedings started with these two judges taking an oath of impartiality, which gave us the first Israeli lie of the case before it had even started.

The nomination of Aharon Barak as the Israeli judge on the International Court of Justice is extraordinary, given that as President of Israel’s Supreme Court he refused to implement the ICJ judgment on the illegality of the wall, stating that he knew the facts of the matter better than the ICJ.

Barak has an extremely long history of accepting all forms of repression of Palestinians by the Israeli Defence Force as legal for “national security”, and in particular has repeatedly refused to rule against the longstanding Israeli programme of demolitions of Palestinian homes as collective punishment. That reads across directly to the destruction of civilian infrastructure in Gaza now.

Barak is viewed as a “liberal” in Israel in the constitutional struggle between the judiciary and executive. But that is about the ability of Netanyahu’s corruption to go unchallenged, not about Palestinian rights. By appointing his apparent opponent Barak to the ICJ, Netanyahu has exhibited typical cunning. If Barak rules against Israel, Netanyahu can claim his domestic opponents are traitors to national security. If Barak rules in favour of Israel, Netanyahu can claim Israeli liberals support the destruction of Gaza.

I expect it is the latter claim we shall be seeing.

I was seated in the public gallery, and watching the seventeen judges occupied much of my time throughout the hearing. Acres have been written about which way who will jump. There is a too-easy assumption they will be swayed by their domestic governments. That varies from judge to judge.

The President of the court, Joan Donoghue, is a US State Department, Clinton hack who has never formed an original idea in her life, and I should be astonished if she starts now. I half-expected her strings to actually be visible, emerging from holes in the hall’s magnificent deep relief-panelled wooden ceiling. But others are more puzzling.

There has been no more rabidly anti-Palestinian national elite than that of Germany. Rather than channel feelings of inherited guilt into opposition to genocide in general, they seem to have concluded that they need to promote alternative genocides to make amends. Added to which, the German judge on the ICJ, Nolte, does not come preceded by a liberal reputation. But friends in Munich tell me that Nolte has a particular interest in the law of armed conflict, and is a stickler for intellectual rigour. Their view is that his professional self-esteem will be the key factor, and that only points one way with regard to what the Israeli Defence Force has done so blatantly to the civilian population in Gaza.

On the other hand, there is a Ugandan judge on the ICJ who you might assume would align with South Africa. But Uganda, for reasons which frankly I do not fathom, joined the United States and Israel in opposing Palestine’s membership of the International Criminal Court, on the grounds Palestine is not a real state. Similarly India you might expect to support South Africa as a key member of BRICS. But India also has a Hindu Nationalist government prone to hideous Islamophobia. I haven’t found any evidence of Judge Bhandari’s domestic record on inter-communal issues.

But it has been suggested to me that in this case before the World Court now, the UN General Assembly may have shot itself in the foot in replacing a particular British judge with the Indian, an election viewed at the time as a triumph in the UN for the developing world. My point is this: that these questions are very complicated, and much of the analysis I have seen, including from some dear colleagues, has been simplistic mince.

Not only is the Great Hall of Justice not fitted out as a courtroom, for a World Court the public gallery is minuscule. Running along one side of the hall, high enough to kill you if you fell over the balcony edge, it is just two seats deep. Furthermore the fitted theatre-style seats are a hundred years old and in a state of near collapse. Your arse is eight inches off the ground and the seats now tilt so your thighs are four inches off the ground and the whole contraption is throwing you forward and over the edge. Rather than fix the seats, the Carnegie Foundation have fixed a strong cable from wall to wall above the balcony rail, acting in effect as a second rail giving six inches more protection.

With one third of the public gallery screened off to house the audio-visual projection and webcasting facility, there were just 24 available seats in the public gallery. There were us 14 from the queue and the rest were for representatives of key NGOs and UN organisations, such as Human Rights Watch and the World Health Organisation. They were allowed pens, obviously being judged respectable enough not to kill anybody with them. I may in fact have acquired a pen from one of them at some stage, purely of course to assist them. Or I may not – it is very difficult to know what counts as terrorism these days.

South Africa opened with statements from their Ambassador and their Minister of Justice Ronald Lamola, and they opened with a bang. I rather expected South Africa to start with some soft soap about how much they had condemned Hamas and sympathised with Israel over 7 October, but no. Within the first thirty seconds South Africa had launched both the word “Nakba” and the phrase “apartheid state” at Israel. We had to hang on to our collapsing seats. This was going to be something.

Minister of Justice Lamola came out with the first memorable phrase of the case. Palestinians had suffered “75 years of apartheid, 56 years of occupation, 13 years of blockade”. It was very well done. Before handing over to the legal team, the “agents” of the South African state, in terms of the Court’s statute, were framing the argument. This injustice, and history itself, did not start on October 7.

There was a second important point of framing. South Africa stressed that in order for the request for “provisional measures” to be granted, it did not need at this stage to be proven that Israel was committing genocide. It only had to be shown that actions of Israel were prima facie capable of falling as genocide within the terms of the Genocide Convention.

The legal team then led off with Dr. Adila Hassim. She outlined that Israel was in breach of the Genocide Convention Article II a), b), c) and d).

On a), killing of Palestinians, she outlined the simple facts without embellishment. 23,200 Palestinians were killed, 70% of them women and children. Over 7,000 were missing presumed dead under the rubble. Over 200 times, Israel had dropped 2,000lb bombs into the very residential areas in southern Gaza into which Palestinians had been ordered to evacuate.

60,000 people were seriously wounded. 355,000 homes had been damaged or destroyed. What could be observed was a substantial pattern of conduct indicating a genocidal intent.

Dr Hassim was notably calm and measured in her words and delivery. But on occasion when detailing atrocities, particularly against children, her voice trembled a little with emotion. The judges, who were generally fidgety (on which much more to follow), looked up and paid closer attention at that.

The next lawyer, Tembeka Ngcukaitobi (only South Africa spoke today) addressed the question of genocidal intent. He had perhaps the easiest task, because he could relate numerous instances of senior Israeli ministers, senior officials and military officers referring to Palestinians as “animals” and calling for their complete destruction and that of Gaza itself, emphasising that there are no innocent Palestinian civilians.

What Ngcukaitobi did particularly well was emphasise the effective transmission of these genocidal ideas from senior government to the troops on the ground, who quoted the same phrases and genocidal ideas in filming themselves committing and justifying atrocities. He emphasises that the Israeli government had ignored its obligation to prevent and act against incitement to genocide in both official and popular culture.

He concentrated particularly on Netanyahu’s invocation of the fate of Amalek and the demonstrable effect of that move on the opinions and actions of Israeli soldiers. Israeli ministers, he said, could not now deny the genocidal intent of their plain words. If they did not mean it, they should not have said it.

The venerable and eminent Professor John Dugard, a striking figure in his bright scarlet gown, then addressed questions of jurisdiction of the court and of the status of South Africa to bring the case – it is likely that Israel will rely heavily on technical argument to try to give the judges an escape route. Dugard pointed out the obligations of all state parties under the Genocide Convention to act to prevent Genocide, and the judgment of the court.

Dugard quoted Article VIII of the Genocide Convention and read out in full Paragraph 431 of the court’s judgment in Bosnia vs Serbia,

This obviously does not mean that the obligation to prevent genocide only comes into being when perpetration of genocide commences ; that would be absurd, since the whole point of the obligation is to prevent, or attempt to prevent, the occurrence of the act. In fact, a State’s obligation to prevent, and the corresponding duty to act, arise at the instant that the State learns of, or should normally have learned of, the existence of a serious risk that genocide will be committed. From that moment onwards, if the State has available to it means likely to have a deterrent effect on those suspected of preparing genocide, or reasonably suspected of harbouring specific intent (dolus specialis), it is under a duty to make such use of these means as the circumstances permit.

I must confess I was very gratified. Dugard’s argument was precisely the same, and quoted the exact same passages and paragraphs, as my article of 7 December explaining why the Genocide Convention should be invoked.

The judges particularly enjoyed Dugard’s points, enthusiastically rustling through documents and underlining things. Dealing with thousands of dead children was a bit difficult for them, but give them a nice jurisdictional point and they were in their element.

Next was Professor Max du Plessis, whose particularly straightforward manner and plainness of speech brought a new energy to proceedings. He said that Palestinians were asking the court to protect the most basic of their rights – they had the right to exist.

Palestinians had suffered 50 years of oppression, and Israel had for decades considered itself above and beyond the reach of the law, ignoring both ICJ judgments and security council resolutions. That context is important. Palestinian individuals have rights to exist protected as members of a group in terms of the Genocide Convention.

South Africa’s case was founded on respect for international law and was based on law and on fact. They had taken the decision not to show the court atrocity videos and photos, of which there were many thousands. Their case was of law and fact, they did not need to introduce shock and emotion and turn the court into a theatre.

This was a shrewd blow by Du Plessis. The hearings were originally scheduled for two hours each side. The South Africans had been told, very late, that was increased to three because the Israelis insist on showing their hour long October 7 atrocity video. But in fact the court’s guidelines reflect a longstanding resistance to this sort of material which must be used “sparsely”. If 23,000 people are dead it does not add intellectual force to show the bodies, and the same is true of the 1,000 dead from 7 October.

Du Plessis concluded that the destruction of Palestine’s infrastructure that supports human life, the displacement of 85% of residents into ever smaller areas where they were still bombed – all were plain examples of genocidal intent.

But undoubtedly the highlight of the entire morning was the astonishing presentation by Irish KC Blinne Ni Ghràlaigh. Her job was to demonstrate that if the Court did not order “provisional measures”, then irreparable damage would be done.

There are times when a writer must admit defeat. I cannot adequately convey to you the impression she made in that courtroom. Like the rest of the team she eschewed atrocity porn and set out the simple facts plainly but elegantly. She adopted the ploy used by all the South African team, of not using emotional language herself but quoting at length deeply emotional language from senior UN officials. Her outline of daily deaths by type was devastating.

I simply urge you to listen to her. “Each day over ten Palestinians will have one or more limbs amputated, many without anaesthetic …”

I should write more now about the court. The South African delegation sat beside their lawyers on the right of the court, the Israeli delegation on their left, each of about 40 people. The South Africans were colourful with South African flag scarves and keffiyehs draped over shoulders. There was a mixture of South Africans and Palestinians, with Deputy Foreign Minister of the Palestinian Authority Amaar Hijazi prominent, which I was glad to see.

The South African delegation was buoyant and mutually supporting, with a lot of inclusive body language and comparative animation. The Israeli delegation was the opposite of animated. It appeared severe and disdainful – it was as though the members were all under instruction to get on with some work and not particularly notice the proceedings were happening at all. They were generally youthful, and I think cocksure would be a fair description. When Blinne was speaking they seemed particularly keen to ensure everyone could see they were not listening.

You would not think from the body language it was Israel that stands accused. In fact the only people in the court whose demeanour was particularly dodgy and guilty were the judges. They absolutely looked like they really did not want to be there. They seemed deeply uncomfortable, fidgeted and fumbled papers a lot, and seldom looked directly at the lawyers speaking.

It occurred to me that the people who really did not want to be in the Court at all were the judges, because it is in fact the judges and the Court itself on trial. The fact of genocide is incontrovertible and had been plainly set out. But several of the judges are desperate to find a way to please the USA and Israel and avoid countering the current Zionist narrative, the adoption of which is necessary to keep your feet comfortably under the table of the elite.

What counts more for them, personal comfort, the urgings of NATO, future wealthy sinecures? Are they prepared to ditch any real notion of international law for those things?

That is the real question before the court. The International Court of Justice is on trial.

During Blinne’s talk, the President of the court suddenly took an intense interest in her startling red iPad, the colour of a particularly bright nail varnish. This came out several times during the hearing, and I could never put these iPad appearances together with what had just been discussed – it was not that cases or documents had just been cited to look up, for example.

The final speaker for the South African legal team was Vaughn Lowe, and he had the delicate task of countering Israel’s defence, which they have kept secret from the court until it is made. Countering arguments you have not seen yet is a tricky proposition, and for me this was the legal tour de force of the entire morning. Vaughn Lowe’s performance was outstanding.

He started by asserting that South Africa did have standing to bring the case, repeating Durand’s points about the duty of states to act to prevent genocide under the Genocide Convention. He said there was a dispute in the terms of the Convention, over whether or not genocide had occurred. South Africa had framed this dispute in a series of Diplomatic Notes Verbale sent to the Israeli government and not satisfactorily replied to.

Lowe said it was acknowledged that a series of individual incidents were being investigated by the International Criminal Court as war crimes, but the existence of other crimes did not preclude their being part of a wider genocide. Genocide was a crime which by its nature tends to come along with other war crimes committed in furtherance of the Genocide.

Finally Lowe said that genocide is never justified. It is absolute, a crime in itself. No matter how appalling the atrocities committed by Hamas against Israel or Israeli citizens, a genocidal response was not appropriate and never could be.

Vaughn Lowe stated that South Africa asked for action against Israel and not against Hamas, simply because Hamas was not a state and thus not subject to the jurisdiction of the court. But the fact that the court could not act against Hamas must not prevent it from acting against Israel to prevent the current urgent danger of genocide. Nor must the court be swayed by Israeli offers of voluntary restraint. Israel’s failure to acknowledge any wrongdoing whatsoever in its actions in “grinding Gaza into the dust” showed Israel could not be trusted in any assurances to adjust behaviour, as it believed it had done no wrong.

The session ended with the South African Ambassador reiterating the provisional measures South Africa now wished the court to impose. These are:

(1) The State of Israel shall immediately suspend its military operations in and against Gaza.

(2) The State of Israel shall ensure that any military or irregular armed units which may be directed, supported or influenced by it, as well as any organisations and persons which may be subject to its control, direction or influence, take no steps in furtherance of the military operations referred to point (1) above.

(3) The Republic of South Africa and the State of Israel shall each, in accordance with their obligations under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, in relation to the Palestinian people, take all reasonable measures within their power to prevent genocide.

(4) The State of Israel shall, in accordance with its obligations under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, in relation to the Palestinian people as group protected by the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, desist from the commission of any and all acts within the scope of Article II of the Convention, in particular:
 (a) killing members of the group;
 (b) causing serious bodily or mental harm to the members of the group;
 (c) deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; and
 (d) imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group.

(5) The State of Israel shall, pursuant to point (4)(c) above, in relation to Palestinians, desist from, and take all measures within its power including the rescinding of relevant orders, of restrictions and/or of prohibitions to prevent:
 (a) the expulsion and forced displacement from their homes;
 (b) the deprivation of:
  (i) access to adequate food and water;
  (ii) access to humanitarian assistance, including access to adequate fuel, shelter, clothes, hygiene and sanitation;
  (iii) medical supplies and assistance; and
 (c) the destruction of Palestinian life in Gaza.

(6) The State of Israel shall, in relation to Palestinians, ensure that its military, as well as any irregular armed units or individuals which may be directed, supported or otherwise influenced by it and any organizations and persons which may be subject to its control, direction or influence, do not commit any acts described in (4) and (5) above, or engage in direct and public incitement to commit genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, attempt to commit genocide, or complicity in genocide, and insofar as they do engage therein, that steps are taken towards their punishment pursuant to Articles I, II, III and IV of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

(7) The State of Israel shall take effective measures to prevent the destruction and ensure the preservation of evidence related to allegations of acts within the scope of Article II of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide; to that end, the State of Israel shall not act to deny or otherwise restrict access by fact-finding missions, international mandates and other bodies to Gaza to assist in ensuring the preservation and retention of said evidence.

(8) The State of Israel shall submit a report to the Court on all measures taken to give effect to this Order within one week, as from the date of this Order, and thereafter at such regular intervals as the Court shall order, until a final decision on the case is rendered by the Court.

(9) The State of Israel shall refrain from any action and shall ensure that no action is taken which might aggravate or extend the dispute before the Court or make it more difficult to resolve it.

With that, we closed the argument. Next, Israel responds.



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226 thoughts on “Your Man in the Hague (in a Good Way).

1 2 3
    • RogerDodger

      That’s good for transparent justice, thanks for the heads up. I do enjoy Craig’s write ups from the courts though so I’ll be sure to read along here as well.

      • Brianfujisan

        Thank you, Craig, for freezing in the Queue in the wee hours… and bringing us this first impression of proceedings.

        Where would we be without your indefatigability and courage?

    • Mr Mark Cutts

      The Daily Politics ‘Show’ focused intensely on the Brushing of teeth for the masses and as usual failed to mention Gaza and even the PO Scandal.


      Then again not surprising as the BBC is very good at anti-propaganda as in “what you don’t know can’t hurt us (sorry, ‘you’)”.

      The Nanny State relative to the welfare or non welfare of its populace is nowhere near the importance of The Corporate State and its bludgeoning from the very same. Woke anti-Wokeism.

      The South Africans and the Irish are doing great work – as are the much-bombed (by The West via Saudi Arabia and their military acolytes) Houthis.

      It’s going to be interesting tomorrow when the Israeli defenders are going to attempt to justify an “Attack” on Israel, when in actuality it was an “Attack” on Palestine.

      The Israeli-occupied lands were “Attacked”, but Tel Aviv wasn’t and Israel wasn’t.

      Passed the learned journalists by, that. Perhaps they should watch more of their previous output over the years?

  • Fleur

    Craig – Here is a YouTube copy ( of the Day1 proceedings from Middle East Eye. The advantage of a YT version is that they eventually have an automatic transcription, which is searchable. The transcription has been processed here. Might be useful for checking your memory and grabbing exact quotes.

    NB The transcript is accessed via pressing “more” in the video header and scrolling down.

  • Jayson Gillham

    Fascinating account of this moment in history! I watched the livestream today, but this really puts the whole experience of attending and the court itself into context and brings it to life. Thank you for your lifelong dedication to truth and justice and for attending on behalf of all of us, with John P and Julian A there with you in spirit.

  • DunGroanin

    Why does it have to be such an ordeal to bear witness and report on the proceedings?

    Thank you very much for your endurance and sacrifice to bear witness and report it.
    And JC who braved the abysmal restrictions!

    Something doesn’t sit well with me.
    I have held my tongue to see what transpires later this morning.
    I did watch the whole proceedings.
    Something struck me about that.
    Not that it’s in English! In a European court.
    Dealing with non European countries.
    That in itself could be bewildering to some. Not me.
    After all english is linguafranca in our world! Ahem. I mean for example air traffic control all over the world works in English.

    What got me was the dress of the court.
    The horsehair wigs. The gowns. It almost felt that the unipolar still wants to keep its customary colonial culture.
    I don’t know.
    Maybe it isn’t just a show.

    But something doesn’t feel right.

    We’ll see soon enough.

    • Urban Fox

      That’s typical in modern neo-liberalism, you have all kinds of theoretical “rights & protections”.

      However trying to exercise same, is deliberately made as obtusely monotonous as possible with all kinds of pettifoggery, bulls**t and inane illogical restrictions ( such as saying a biro pen is weapon).

      Mind-numbing boredom can do more suppressive work than overt coersion. Particularly if you’re not mentally aware of that truth.

      The whole point of many petty regime-imposed restrictions these days *is* the demoralising pettiness itself.

      • John Cleary

        That’s typical in modern neo-liberalism, you have all kinds of theoretical “rights & protections”.

        How right you are, UF.
        Take the epitome of this phenomenon, the Human Rights Act.
        Look it up

        1 The Convention Rights.

        (1)In this Act “the Convention rights” means the rights and fundamental freedoms set out in—

        (a)Articles 2 to 12 and 14 of the Convention,

        (b)Articles 1 to 3 of the First Protocol, and

        (c)[F1Article 1 of the Thirteenth Protocol],

        as read with Articles 16 to 18 of the Convention.

        Notice anything?
        What happened to Article 13?

        What is Article 13?

        ARTICLE 13
        Right to an effective remedy
        Everyone whose rights and freedoms as set forth in this Convention
        are violated shall have an effective remedy before a national
        authority notwithstanding that the violation has been committed
        by persons acting in an official capacity.

        There you go. You have all sorts of rights. You simply have no remedy when those “rights” are breached by the all-powerful government.

        Interestingly, the Convention was drafted after WWII by British lawyers.
        They clearly understood the nature of a Constitutional Monarchy that lacked any constitution!

        • John Cleary


          I should also mention Article 1of the ECHR which, like Article 13, does not exist in the UK:

          ARTICLE 1
          Obligation to respect Human Rights
          The High Contracting Parties shall secure to everyone within their
          jurisdiction the rights and freedoms defined in Section I of this

          It is much better to pontificate than to practice

          • Urban Fox

            Yep, and such practice there is. Will thus be entirely at the discretion of the regime.

            Just to show you who’s boss.

  • AG

    Additionally Norman Finkelstein – part 1 of 4 podcasts about the proceedings:

    He at times acts as the Israeli attorney to exemplify the job that South Africa has to accomplish.

    p.s. It is shocking how almost the entire spectrum of German media is failing here. In some cases almost as if Africa was a traitor.

    Experiencing all this makes undisputable that German society has NOT learned its historic lesson. Which of course many German scholars agree with but on opposite grounds: Germans who condemn Israel are regarded as the ones who have not learned it.

    It leaves you speechless.

    • Peter Mo

      All that German society has done is replace Jews with Muslims particularly Palestinians i.e. a minority to be persecuted. Germans should look at themselves….. Have they changed at all since embracing Nazism?

  • Laughingsong

    This will maybe be a suggestion for another time, given the givens….If there is an art supply store nearby (unlikely I know) and you have time (more unlikely it seems, given when the queue starts, and an imperative to get some sleep sometime), get a small stick of art charcoal. They’re not sharp. Bring a napkin or handkerchief to keep your fingers clean. And lots of paper because you won’t be able to write as small as usual. But if you keep rotating the charcoal you will create more of a point and it will get easier.

  • AG

    how likely is it that the ICJ judges are put under pressure via compromising material?

    To pick up on following post in the Forum on the ICJ by SA

    “Of the current 15 members on the ICJ website 5 are NATO members, US, Romania (as per above), France, Slovakia and Germany. There are also Japan and Australia who are NATO affiliates. If the US can twist the arm of one of the other 8 they may manage to get a majority that will not condemn Israel. Given the vehemence by which Israel and the US have taken on this case, I fear we may have the wrong outcome to what is desired.”

    Mearsheimer of course pointed out that Israel and the US will go to considerable lengths to bust the case.
    On the other hand he as well stated that Israel doesn´t really care, as long as the US is backing it – which it is.

    • AG

      Finkelstein in the above linked podcast makes this very point in the case of Richard Goldstone´s report.
      Goldstone rejected his own 2008 report later, probably due to pressure on his family. But even then it did make Israeli communication more cautious.

      • harry law

        AG, the Mafia have more morals than some US politicians, maybe this will not be settled in a court of law, Otto Von Bismark’s speech in 1862, the founder of German reunification, in which he said “Not by parliamentary speeches and majority votes are the great questions of the day determined – that was the mistake of 1848 and 1849 – but by iron and blood.” Today he may be alluding to ‘the Arc of resistance’ led by Hezbollah.
        In early 2002, a year before the invasion of Iraq, the Bush administration was putting intense pressureOpens in a new tab on Bustani to quit as director-general of the OPCW — despite the fact that he had been unanimously re-elected to head the 145-nation body just two years earlier. His transgression? Negotiating with Saddam Hussein’s IraqOpens in a new tab to allow OPCW weapons inspectors to make unannounced visits to that country — thereby undermining Washington’s rationale for regime change.

        In 2001, then-Secretary of State Colin Powell had penned a letter to Bustani, thanking him for his “very impressiveOpens in a new tab” work. By March 2002, however, Bolton — then serving as under secretary of state for Arms Control and International Security Affairs — arrived in person at the OPCW headquarters in the Hague to issue a warning to the organization’s chief. And, according to Bustani, Bolton didn’t mince words. “Cheney wants you out,” Bustani recalled Bolton saying, referring to the then-vice president of the United States. “We can’t accept your management style.”

        Bolton continued, according to Bustani’s recollections: “You have 24 hours to leave the organization, and if you don’t comply with this decision by Washington, we have ways to retaliate against you.”

        There was a pause.

        “We know where your kids live. You have two sons in New York.”

        Bustani told me he was taken aback but refused to back down. “My family is aware of the situation, and we are prepared to live with the consequences of my decision,” he replied.

        • JohnSmith

          Cheney, Powell and Bolton were also members of the liberal-fascist Council on Foreign Relations which has controlled the US govt and media since WW2. Cheney was a former CFR director.

          Same stuff, different decade. CFR/Trilateral members on the “Biden team” include Blinken, Sullivan, Austin, Burns, Greenfield, Yellen, Mayorkas, and dozens more.

        • AG

          harry law
          excellent thx!

          I remember how awful Bolton was. He had a reputation. The kind of guy an antiwar movement would hate.
          Then he left office.
          But what is worse: Media has forgotten about this man´s madness.
          He is a war criminal and should rot in prison.

  • Peter Mo

    Climate needs to be a factor with the ICJ. Reports are available illustrating the huge emissions Israel have unleashed on the atmosphere through this needless mass slaughter.
    Another factor not given prominence is that by delivering aid to Gaza, agencies are less able to assist in other desperate international situations.

    • Lapsed Agnostic

      Isn’t what’s happening in Gaza bad enough without bringing in the ‘climate emergency’, Peter? Carbon emissions from Israeli tanks etc are in the noise compared to global daily emissions. In general, war reduces greenhouse gas emissions because it degrades industry, either by directly destroying factories etc, or by depleting them of workers.

      Israel could just help itself to Gaza’s gas without having to level the place, Clark, since the main field lies outside the 12 nautical mile fishing limit it’s imposed on the Gazans, i.e. it was already depriving Gaza of its rightful EEZ. In any case, Israel now has plenty of gas of its own, whereas the total value of the gas in the Gaza Marine field is estimated at only about a billion dollars at today’s prices, so it’s not exactly the next Qatar.

      • Clark

        “Israel could just help itself to Gaza’s gas without having to level the place, Clark, since the main field lies outside the 12 nautical mile fishing limit it’s imposed on the Gazans”

        Senior Israelis disagree, and stated in 2014 that control of Gaza’s gas is one of the objectives:

        IDF’s Gaza assault is to control Palestinian gas, avert Israeli energy crisis | Environment | The Guardian

        Note that the Graun sacked Nafeez Ahmed, the author, for publishing that piece.

        “In general, war reduces greenhouse gas emissions because it degrades industry, either by directly destroying factories etc, or by depleting them of workers.”

        But it also causes more weapons to be made and more weapons factories to be built, and more reconstruction work to be done. Then there’s all the military training, logistics, manoeuvres, surveillance etc. etc. I’m sure the statement I quoted is massively counterfactual.

        The military are the only sector that don’t have to declare emissions.

        • Lapsed Agnostic

          The statement by the former Israeli defence minister about Gaza’s gas was made in 2007, not 2014, before Israel discovered the Leviathan field – which is over 20 times as big as Gaza Marine and purely in Israel’s EEZ – along with several other fields. However, as I stated, Israel can just help itself to Gaza’s gas any time it wants. What are Hamas etc going to do? Launch their unguided rockets at the platforms? Iron Dome can deal with those. What’s the rest of the world going to do? Implement sanctions? Like it’s doing now, after Israel has killed nearly 10,000 kids? Or maybe not.

          My statement about war reducing GHG emissions wasn’t even slightly counterfactual, let alone massively so. In reasonably developed countries, most fossil fuel use is for domestic heating and transportation, and most transportation is of people commuting from their homes to their places of work and back again five days a week or more, mostly by car. If people have been removed from their workplaces and conscripted onto the frontlines, they generally live where they’re fighting (often in unheated dug-outs), and have their food and ammo brought to them, usually arriving on foot. On the home front, people are often encouraged to use less energy (assuming it’s available) and donate the money they save to the war effort. All of this is happening now in Ukraine, where the real economy (a significant fraction of which was industrial) is estimated to have roughly halved since the start of the war.

          Enjoy the weekend.

          • Clark

            If Israel considered Hamas an obstacle to extracting the gas in 2007, then they’re still an obstacle now; more so since Israel vacated Gaza and now has less control.

            The second paragraph sounds like the early 20th century; warfare is no longer like WWI, it is waged with highly fuel-hungry aircraft, tanks, battleships, and military transports. The numbers fighting are relatively small, in the tens of thousands, not millions.

            “All of this is happening now in Ukraine, where the real economy (a significant fraction of which was industrial) is estimated to have roughly halved since the start of the war.”

            A false case can always be made by dividing an issue into pieces, then writing as if one piece is representative of the whole. Any reduction in Ukrainian exports have to be made up for elsewhere; the emissions have moved, not vanished. A huge proportion of the Ukrainian population has likewise fled to other countries, where they continue to use resources that cause emissions. Europe and the US create emissions when they manufacture the weapons they send to Ukraine, and transporting them creates yet more emissions. The many foreign fighters have to travel to and fro, creating emissions. And the Western fighting in Ukraine doesn’t occur in a vacuum; it’s a war against Russia, where all the same arguments apply.

            And the reconstruction has just vanished from this counterargument, like the economy displaced from Ukraine and its emissions.

            Pull the other one it’s got bells on.

          • Clark

            But I did indeed get the date wrong. Israel’s statements were made in 2007; it was the article quoting them that was from 2014.

          • Clark

            “What are Hamas etc going to do?”

            Who knows? Underwater drones? The fields are well within battery range.

            “What’s the rest of the world going to do?”

            They’re already doing it – supporting Israel, to deprive the Palestinians. These brown people have a nasty habit of eking out their fossil fuels to develop their own economies instead of selling it fast and dirt cheap on the international market – Libya, Iraq and Iran were all overthrown for doing that.

          • Lapsed Agnostic

            Where do we start with this? Israel didn’t consider Hamas to be an obstacle to extracting gas from the Gaza Marine field in 2007, except inasmuch that it didn’t want the Palestinians to receive proceeds from gas sales in case they were used to fund its military wing. Any underwater drones that Hamas could have potentially used could have been dealt with by anti-torpedo netting.

            The War in Ukraine is very similar to WWI in that there are entrenched frontlines, with the conflict being dominated by artillery and only small gains now being made by both sides. This is the result of advances in anti-tank weaponry and real-time hyper-surveillance of the battlefield making it difficult to carry out even medium-scale manoeuvres without getting most of your armoured vehicles detected and destroyed. At any one time, there are hundreds of thousands of soldiers on the frontlines, not tens of thousands, and units are regularly rotated in and out. There are also hundreds of thousands more involved in the logistics side of things. Overall there are probably well over two million in uniform. Any conventional war in the near future between Russia and NATO (or more likely NATO minus the US) will probably be very similar, only on a larger scale.

            The millions of Ukrainian civilians that have fled to the EU and the UK have generally gone to countries where it’s warmer in winter, so they need to use less heating. In the early days, many of them were living in people’s spare rooms. The US and Europe have generally been providing Ukraine with weapons that were already in existence, and that are transported by ship and train most of the way. The only country that has been manufacturing significant quantities of new weapons is Russia. The number of foreign fighters relative to overall troop levels is tiny, plus most of them got to Ukraine on the trains.

            While we’re thinking about the long term, around 200,000 people have been killed in the war so far. These people’s future carbon emissions will be zero, and most of them will have been young and potentially could have been fathers (or in some cases mothers), so that’s thousands more people who won’t be responsible any GHG emissions because they will never have been born. Some of what Ukraine used to manufacture will have been replaced by global economic growth – but that growth will have been slightly lower than it otherwise would have been, resulting in overall lower emissions, due to the destruction of Ukraine’s economy.

            As for your contention that Ukraine is only one war: Syrian GDP per capita over the course of the rather different Syrian Civil War – in which over 500,000 people have died – has more than halved, and most of the millions of tent-dwelling Syrian refugees in Turkey & Jordan, who are no longer making a contribution to it, are currently responsible for very few GHG emissions.

            The last person to use the phrase ‘it’s got bells on’ to me was Bayard, who was trying to convince me that a professional assassin would use .22 short ammo (generally only recommended for killing things like squirrels) to attempt to kill a suicidal drunk, somewhere where there was unlikely to have been anyone else within ten miles. Needless to say, it didn’t work.

          • Bayard

            “The last person to use the phrase ‘it’s got bells on’ to me was Bayard, who was trying to convince me that a professional assassin would use .22 short ammo (generally only recommended for killing things like squirrels) to attempt to kill a suicidal drunk, somewhere where there was unlikely to have been anyone else within ten miles. Needless to say, it didn’t work.”

            I think that says more about you than about me.

          • Clark

            Lapsed Agnostic wrote:

            “Israel didn’t consider Hamas to be an obstacle to extracting gas from the Gaza Marine field in 2007, except inasmuch that it didn’t want the Palestinians to receive proceeds from gas sales in case they were used to fund its military wing.” [my emphasis]

            based on the following quote, but only the first part of it, explicitly denying the rest, some of which I shall highlight in bold:

            “Hamas will either benefit from the royalties or it will sabotage the project and launch attacks against Fatah, the gas installations, Israel – or all three… It is clear that without an overall military operation to uproot Hamas control of Gaza, no drilling work can take place without the consent of the radical Islamic movement.”

            Why such desperation to make a point in direct contradiction to the quote on which it is based?

            I would also point out that within days of the Hamas attacks on 7 Oct 2023 and the start of Israel’s genocidal assault on Gaza, the US energy secretary and negotiators from BP were in Israel with the Israeli government.
            – – – –

            As for the piecemeal backtrack, from the Ukraine war slashing emissions to refugee Ukrainians using somewhat less fuel now they’re further south – omitting the Russian speakers who have moved further north, of course – and the ludicrous assertion that the US and Europe won’t be replacing the weapons they’ve sent to Ukraine, we also have this:

            ” there are hundreds of thousands of soldiers on the frontlines, not tens of thousands, and units are regularly rotated in and out. There are also hundreds of thousands more involved in the logistics side of things”

            All on foot, of course, as per the first of these irrelevant, self-contradictory and fallacious attempts to promote the obvious absurdity that war is good for the biosphere.

          • Lapsed Agnostic

            I don’t know about you, Clark, but I’m not generally in the habit of believing everything politicians say, and I’m certainly not in the habit of believing everything Israeli politicians say – otherwise I’d be of the opinion that Israel has no choice but to level Gaza, because that’s the only way it can prevent its women being raped and its babies being beheaded by Hamas. At the time, Israel was looking for any excuse to invade Gaza, which it did the following year in Operation Cast Lead, though as that only resulted in the deaths of around a thousand Gazan civilians, it pales in comparison to today. The threat of attacks by Hamas proved no obstacle to the development of the Leviathan field (which is only three or four times further away from Gaza than Gaza Marine) in the decade that followed, and if Hamas had commandeered fishing boats and tried to attack the rigs, they would have been dealt with pretty effectively by the IDF.

            As I appear to be accused of sophistry, it looks like we’re going to have to go through the numbers. According to the Ukrainian authorities, the primary energy consumption of Ukraine (over 80%+ of which comes from fossil fuels) in 2022 was around 20% lower per capita than in 2021 (and don’t forget Ukraine was only at war for 10 months of 2022). As an example of what the war has done to Ukrainian heavy industry, steel production in Ukraine fell by around 70% in 2022, and global steel production also fell, so this loss wasn’t replaced elsewhere.

            Around six million Ukrainian civilians fled to the EU in 2022, compared to around one million who went to Russia. Despite the population of the EU increasing by over 1% as a result, primary energy consumption in the EU fell by 4%, largely a result of higher energy prices caused by the War in Ukraine affecting the supply of cheap gas from Russia. Much of the equipment that the US (and other countries) sent to Ukraine *won’t* be replaced – it’s surplus stock from the 70’s & 80’s (M2 Bradleys, M113’s etc). The size of the US military in terms of manpower is significiantly smaller than it was back then, so there’s no need for replacements – plus it’s becoming apparent that armoured vehicles are a liability on the modern battlefield.

            People sitting in unheated dug-outs on the frontlines for months on end, having their basic food delivered every couple days (part of way by truck and then on foot, as the trucks would be shelled by artillery if they got too close, assuming they didn’t get stuck in the mud first) use a lot less energy than people commuting half an hour to work in stop-start traffic five days a week to their warm workplaces, returning to their warm houses in the evening, having a shower every day and a warm bath once a week, getting their clothes washed every week, and maybe flying to some exotic destination once a year if they’ve been saving up – all of which leads to lower GHG emissions. There’s nothing fallacious or contradictory about this. The biosphere, however, generally prefers warmer, wetter conditions associated with an *increased* greenhouse effect.

          • Clark

            Lapsed agnostic, I very much doubt that you did all that calculation, fact finding and selection, even to the point of looking up global steel production, before you posted your initial comment. You seem very motivated to make points about the war in Ukraine, despite Peter Mo’s original post being about Gaza. And you seem to believe politicians when it suits, even selectively quoting from within a paragraph, then profess your disbelief when the paragraph as a whole contradicts your argument. Yes, ‘sophistry’ does seem to fit, disappointingly. At least you’re no longer claiming that supplies reach troops exclusively on foot.

            The biosphere does best when the climate doesn’t change too fast, because evolution by natural selection is a relatively slow process, and because complex, mutually interdependent webs of different species ie. biodiversity takes time to establish. That is one of the things making the current very rapid climate change a crisis. There is a mass extinction already happening and gathering pace, and climate change is the third of its five major causes; the IPBES report summary can be found here:


            There is a lot more to humanity’s crisis than illicit drugs and ‘Putin’; I think you should broaden your outlook.

          • Clark

            Oh and if you check, I think you’ll find that although EU energy use fell, emissions actually increased. You can find the reasons for that if you look. Remember to check methane too, though you’ll probably have to include the UK, Qatar and the USA for that to show up.

          • Lapsed Agnostic

            I didn’t quote (or selectively quote) from that Graun article, Clark. What I did was state that in 2007 (as now) Israel didn’t want Hamas to receive any royalties from the Gaza Marine gas field, which was true. In that year, the former Israeli defence minister claimed that Hamas would either receive royalties or sabotage the gas fields, and that there were no other possible eventualities. This was a false claim, because there were plenty of ways that Israel could have protected the rigs from Hamas attacks – just as there are plenty of ways it could have prevent Hamas etc from carrying out any more October 7th-style attacks, without having to level Gaza and kill thousands of civilians.

            The War in Ukraine is a good example of a recent, large-scale war which has resulted in a substantial fall in energy consumption, and thus GHG gas emissions, compared to what they would have been had it never happened, and figures are available which show this. I never claimed that supplies were reaching troops exclusively on foot. What I stated was that frontline troops have ‘food and ammo brought to them, *usually* arriving on foot’ [my subsequent emphasis]. I also never claimed that such items are transported on foot all the way from their place of manufacture to the frontlines, but there should still be a reduction in emissions relative to food being transported from supermarkets to people’s homes by car in peacetime.

            It’s estimated that over 99.9% of species that have ever existed on planet Earth are extinct, and for the vast majority of them that had nothing to do with Homo Sapiens. What’s special about the species that currently exist? What’s special about them is that they are living at the same time as H. Sapiens, and thus a large proportion of them may be preserved (as is happening in various seedbanks) and therefore become extinct a lot later than they otherwise would have done – and some of them may actually leave the planet (or even the solar system) well before the Earth likely becomes incapable of supporting life due to increased solar flux in around a billion years’ time.*

            According to the EU’s own Environment Agency, its GHG emissions went *down* by 2% in 2022 compared to 2021:


            I’d imagine that the reason they didn’t fall by 4% was because the EU was importing more coal, as well as digging up lignite in Germany, to replace some of its gas-generated electricity. However, it wouldn’t have mattered if they’d gone up by 1% to reflect its increased population, because this would have been more than offset by the reduction in emissions in Ukraine.

            * It’s possible that this Wiki page may expand your horizons:


            Enjoy your evening.

  • U Watt

    I am sure your articles were influential in achieving this noble, historic event at the Hague. There was no other public call as early for the Genocide Convention to be invoked. Therefore you should have had a spot reserved at the court, not have to endure hours of exposure to freezing conditions. 

    Thanks though for making the great effort and for this excellent report on the day’s events. The Irish lady’s presentation was indeed excellent and truly represents Irish sentiment, in contrast to the cowardly careerists in the Irish government who have opposed this hearing. I dearly hope the uncomfortable body language you observed of the judges does not mean they are similarly craven and anti-human. There will no doubt suddenly be MSM coverage today as the Israelis make their presentation, which I expect to be beyond parody.

    • tonyopmoc

      “I am sure your articles were influential in achieving this noble, historic event at the Hague. There was no other public call as early for the Genocide Convention to be invoked. ”

      U Watt, I think you are almost certainly correct.

      “Therefore you should have had a spot reserved at the court”

      Craig Murray has a long history of doing that. He often queues up just as a witness or a journalist – trying to give a report of events in court. I am almost certain, he is always well behaved – just sat there making notes and not annoying anyone except for his presence by people in authority who seriously dislike him.

      Regardless of his political views, I think that is commendable, and in a just and fair society, should not result in Craig Murray being arrested, and going to jail which has already happened.

      He hasn’t broken any laws nor done anything wrong, illegal or immoral.

      Telling the truth is not illegal, especially when it is all extremely well documented and indisputable by any uncorrupted legal authority interested in the truth and the most basic morality.

      Don’t jail an innocent man, when you know he is innocent.


  • Alone

    “the only people in the court whose demeanour was particularly dodgy and guilty were the judges. They absolutely looked like they really did not want to be there. They seemed deeply uncomfortable, fidgeted and fumbled papers a lot, and seldom looked directly at the lawyers speaking”

    This troubles me a great deal indeed.

    Thank you for your efforts Mr Murray.

    (The title is a nod to “Our man in —“, diplomatic service. How fortunate we are to have Mr Murray as “our” man, not theirs)

  • Jack

    Very interesting thorough read, thanks Craig!
    What worries me is the lack of gusto, lack of support that is given to South Africa by other states, this passivity embolden Israel and also shape the general perception that the stance taken by South Africa is somehwat a fringe, minority view.

    It took the Arab League almost 2 months to level a watered-down vocal support for South Africa’s brave efforts:
    Arab League supports South Africa’s genocide case against Israel over Gaza war

    What hindered each of these 20+ arab states to fill their own lawsuit against Israel at the ICJ, not only regarding this on-going massacre but the countless other wars against the palestinians past decades?
    These arab states are nothing but nasty corrupt “quislings”. Just look how they now approve western warships, submarines striking another arab resistance group in the region killing arabs once again. Who stands to benefit from that? Only Israel.

    • Tom Welsh

      ‘What hindered each of these 20+ arab states to fill their own lawsuit against Israel at the ICJ, not only regarding this on-going massacre but the countless other wars against the palestinians past decades?
      These arab states are nothing but nasty corrupt “quislings”’.

      I wouldn’t judge them too harshly, Jack. They are just showing their commitment to “Western values”.

      Money… er…

  • Mary Goretti Katusabe - Ssemwezi

    Found this article very well written and captivating. If one cannot judge facts they have no business being judges!

  • Tatyana

    Thank you very much Mr Murray! I really appreciate your personal impressions. There are several links with videos offered here, but to be honest, I’m not sure that I could see in them what you noticed. After all, people of different cultures and different experiences interpret what they saw differently. That is why your observations and your comments are priceless. Thank you!

  • Stevie Boy

    Meanwhile the UK is protecting its genocidal friends right to murder women and children and ethnically cleanse millions of innocent Palestinians by bombing some yemenese tribesmen all in the name of self defence.
    FFS … really!! Sunak really is a cunt.

    • Tatyana

      The Houthis supported Palestine against Israel, demanded a seaasefire and attacked any ships associated with Israel. News reports that Britain and the US carried out 73 strikes against the Houthis in Yemen today.
      Biden says this is to protect shipping.
      It seems to me that military actions under the pretext of “defense” are becoming a trend.

  • Margaret O'Brien

    First Craig I’d just like to say, I’m not a young woman, and yourself and Jeremy are not young men, and I couldn’t withstand the freezing conditions you and others endured throughout the night while we were asleep in our warm beds. You’re made of strong stuff.
    Your pointing out that the ICJ is on trial echoed my thoughts exactly. All the discomfort and fidgeting by the judges made me wonder how much and how heavily they’ve been leant on by mainly the US and Israel, amongst other rogue states, which is the only description I can come up with to apply to said states.
    The fact of attempts to get at them is a given in my humble opinion.
    The other thing which I’ve mainly thought since South Africa brought this case is, these international courts which are ostensibly set up to stop/punish war crimes, genocide and other atrocities, seem designed to let states off the hook. You make the obvious point that the ICC is a tool of the west, demonstrated so clearly by the total impunity enjoyed by Bush x 2, Blair, Clinton, Obama, Sarkozy, Cameron, Trump, amongst other war criminals, (Theresa May!) and the UN is, I think, totally useless and toothless.
    The other thing I find hard to stomach is the time these courts take to bring in verdicts. As you say, the case against Israel is incontrovertible, an open and shut case of genocide. And yet I read these courts can take months or years to decide guilt or innocence.
    There criminals are not too big to fail, like the banks. They’re too powerful, threatening, armed to the teeth and bloodthirsty to be put behind bars where they belong.
    Total admiration. Take care of yourself.

    • Margaret O'Brien

      I meant to add that, the way I see it, given the overwhelming evidence, including words from the mouths of the powers in Israel with which they’ve openly demonstrated and boasted of their guilt, there is no valid reason why a verdict cannot be in by either a couple of hours after the end of proceedings today, including an immediate order to Israel to stop killing people. Or the immediate order to stop the killing today and a verdict first thing on Monday morning.
      But I’m just a simple person, what do I know?

      • Pears Morgaine

        I have a feeling the judges will withdraw to deliberate and it could be weeks before we get a verdict. Back in March 2022 it took them a week to decide that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was unjustified. It ordered Russia to halt all military activity in Ukraine; as you might’ve noticed that worked…

  • Bob (original)

    Thanks for going to all the trouble, effort, discomfort and expense to report on an historic court case – which the UK MSM seems keen to ignore or downplay. We know that it appears a clear case – but also that the USA and Israel might ‘manufacture’ an unexpected outcome?

    But, Israel has – again – lost the propaganda war.

    An African country has dragged Israel into court, and called it out as an apartheid state, and as a genocide-promoting rogue state.

    Regardless of the court’s rulings, another huge drop in global support for Israel could be an expected outcome from this ICJ case?

  • SA

    Mr Murray
    There can be no doubt that you have already made a huge contribution, first by calling for action to be raised by a state with regards to the Genocide convention and now by taking all the trouble to ensure presence in the proceedings to report accurately and first hand. This contribution is already a valuable historic document. This is all whilst the billionaire financed press throughout the west is ignoring the main serious issues.
    I am so pleased that here we have a community that has a front-seat representative on these events.

  • Shai

    This is a detached post written from a very wrong perspective. Genocide has a very clear definition in law and Israel is pretty far from that legal definition and probably not even in violation of softer laws (despite pretty horrible rhetoric which isn’t a crime). The number of civilian deaths doesn’t constitute genocide according to the law so the proceedings will ultimately fail.

    However, the South African government (who gave refuge to mass murderers) is using this to distract from their own political problems at home. The Hamas is using that to show off Israeli racism (which does exist as this is the worst government in our history) and in that sense they already won.

    The problem is that they are doing tremendous damage to the Palestinian people. The reason is simple: legitimacy to Hamas.

    Hamas is a red flag in Israel. It is a murderous organization that has destroyed previous attempts at peace. Thanks to it the Israeli right took over and gained strength. As long as it exists Israeli and Palestinian liberals can’t possibly come together and finish this thing in the only reasonable way: Palestinian state. Hamas won’t settle for anything less than the entire country (which is what river to the sea means). Unfortunately, you’re mixing the plight of the Palestinians (which is valid) with the Hamas-led war (which is not).

    There are two possible outcomes for this war:

    * Hamas is gone – at least to a large extent. After that Netanyahu will probably be gone too and there will finally be a chance for peace.

    * Hamas survives – that means they will keep attacking and Israel will keep retaliating forever.

    Yes. The former includes a lot of death. It’s conducted horribly by horrible people… All true. But it includes a positive potential at the end. A ceasefire today would mean far more violence against Palestinians and would probably be the final nail in the coffin of the Palestinian state.

    I know it’s an uncomfortable truth, but that’s the fact. There are no good options here, moderate Palestinians are stuck between a rock and a hard place. By removing Hamas we will remove one side of that and without Netanyahu the right in Israel won’t be able to unite as easily.

    • Dom

      Zionism is an ideology of genocidal racism centred on dispossessing a people and removing them from their native land. There is literally nothing else to Zionism and right now the world is witnessing its truest manifestation. It is the ideology and practice of Zionism itself that needs to be ended not native resistance to it. Installing some new Zionist leader is no answer to anything. The only long term solution to this arch racist, genocidal movement is to simply end it and establish instead a single democratic, multifaith state with equal rights for all.

      • Stevie Boy

        It is very aparent that even if Israel achieves its objective and takes over Gaza, that will not be enough.
        Lebanon, that will not be enough.
        Jordon, that will not be enough.
        Syria, that will not be enough.
        Iran, that will not be enough.
        The planet needs to be completely purged of zionist Israel. It is very apparent that the psychopathic, criminal Israeli state will never – and can never – be an open, honest, peaceful, democratic state that respects its neighbours. The experiment has failed. Time to end Israel and ship the deviants back to where they came from – USA and Eastern Europe – and reinstate Palestine.

        • Dom

          Yes, clearing Gaza would be far from the end of it. The Zionist intention has always been the Two Rivers Plan, a vast imperial Greater Israel, from the Euphrates to the Nile. That is what the two blue bands on the Zionist flag represent.

    • harry law

      Shai, remember this….
      There is an old adage among lawyers that says, “If you have the facts on your side, pound the facts; if you have the law on your side, pound the law; if you have neither the facts nor the law, pound the table.”
      mens rea i.e the intention or knowledge of wrongdoing. Israeli Cabinet Ministers well documented Genocidal statements
      Actus reus.. Guilty Acts All the above Genocidal Statements put into practice, and recorded on TV screens all over the world.

    • Tom Welsh

      [ in reply to Shai ]

      “Hamas is a red flag in Israel. It is a murderous organization that has destroyed previous attempts at peace”.

      Let me rephrase that in plain English.

      Israel cannot stand Hamas, because Hamas represents the Palestinian people (which Israelis would like to shrivel up and disappear) and because Hamas does not yield to force; instead, it fights back.

      “Cet animal est tres mechant;
      Quand on l’attaque, il se defend”.

      (“This animal is extremely vicious;
      When attacked, it defends itself”).

    • Nota Tory Fanboy

      [ in reply to Shai ]

      Mr. Murray’s post is quite obviously not detached; it is the logical – and correct – continuation of his previous posts on the matter, documenting vindication of his detailed legal assessment. With all due respect, it is your comment that is detached from reality with an incorrect perspective, one demonstrated by your first paragraph:

      “Genocide has a very clear definition in law and Israel is pretty far from that” – indeed genocide does have a very clear definition and the Israeli State, as an occupying force, has repeatedly violated every single part of that internationally recognised legal definition, even after having the consequences of its actions highlighted to it and being warned not to continue perpetrating such violations.

      “despite pretty horrible rhetoric which isn’t a crime” – you obviously haven’t paid sufficient attention to the legal texts highlighted by Mr. Murray or you would know that what you have written is literally the opposite of the truth. Incitement to genocide falls under the internationally recognised legal definition of genocide under the Genocide Convention, to which the Israeli State is a signatory. Multiple senior ministers in the Israeli Government, Ambassadors, Military Generals and foot soldiers, and prominent pop culture members of the general public have repeatedly incited genocide with practically no sanction when the Israeli Government has a duty to prevent incitement to genocide. As documented in other comments here, such representatives of the Israeli State continue to extol their calls for genocide. This meets the theoretical intent. The practical manifestation of that intent is obvious from the wholly disproportionate actions the Israeli Military continues to prosecute in *both* Gaza and the West Bank. Threatening the World with nuclear Armageddon – literally a humanity ending event – if the World chooses to call this out (see “The Samson Option” prominently displayed by the head of the former Israeli Ambassador to the UK in a BBC interview on the 7th of November) must surely be the ultimate call to genocide.

      The lie is obviously given away by the fact that the Israeli Government and IDF would not be acting in this way with the consequent number of civilian deaths if Hamas was hiding in/beneath hospitals, schools, religious and administrative buildings, UN refugee camps etc. (including in areas to which Israel ordered civilians to move “for their safety”) that were located within the State of Israel and concurrently occupied by 20,000+ Israeli citizens.

      Delusion and denialism don’t change the facts of what has been said and acted upon.

      The saddest part is that the thirst for blood fails to learn from the past – a very long past that goes back to the Semitic Canaanite people – even whilst many members of the Israeli public (and wider World public) call for violence from both Hamas and the Israeli State to stop (which is what a ceasefire would be), violence which as History teaches us only serves to imperil our future.

      Explicitly explained in this case is that Netanyahu-funded Hamas isn’t a signatory to the Genocide Convention and unfortunately, having been denied self-determination, not subject to the ICJ. The Israeli State is the opposite, yet behaves as if it isn’t.

      • Nota Tory Fanboy

        To be clear, I don’t think Hamas has a right to self-determination but the Palestinian people do and if Israel wants the rulings of ICJ and ICC investigations to apply to Hamas then they need to explain how it should be enforced against – and only against (i.e. not against civilians) – an organisation that doesn’t have internationally recognised right of self-determination, isn’t a signatory and not subject to their jurisdiction.

        • Nota Tory Fanboy

          I should correct this to make clear that Hamas, in theory, isn’t subject to ICJ jurisdiction but is to that of the ICC as a “State actor” or similar.

    • SA

      [ in reply to Shai ]

      Except that promises of an independent Palestinian state started in Oslo in 1990s have never advanced but on the contrary has led to increasing expropriation of land by violent settlers way before Hamas existed. You argument has no basis in reality and no answer to the basic problem of the incongruity of pretending to have a democracy within a racially exclusive state of settler occupiers.

    • Nota Tory Fanboy

      The stated objective of the Israeli State doesn’t even make sense either: they claim to want to rescue the hostages, yet have killed circa half of them through unguided carpet bombs and shot at least three others under “friendly fire”.

      Given the apparent love for “The Samson Option” amongst senior Israeli diplomats, it would hardly be surprising if Mossad set off a “false flag” inside the Palace of Peace in order to put an end to the proceedings before the verdict could be given.

      • Jiusito

        In the story of the Judgement of Solomon, both women claimed that the baby was theirs. That didn’t make them the mirror image of each other, because in fact the baby did rightfully belong to one woman and not to the other.

        There is another respect in which Hamas is not the mirror image of Likud: although they refuse to accept that the Israelis have any moral or legal right to any of Palestine, let alone 72 per cent of it, they have said they are willing to accept the idea of a Palestinian state comprised of the remaining 28 per cent.

  • Clark

    Craig wrote:

    “I may in fact have acquired a pen from one of them at some stage, purely of course to assist them. Or I may not – it is very difficult to know what counts as terrorism these days.”

    Ahh, the pen is mightier than the sword improvised explosive device.

  • JulianJ

    Besides blackmail and pressure, in my view the judges probably realise they face assassination. No wonder they are shifty.

    Israel/Zionism has used this against its opponents since before Israel existed.

    If it is prepared to brutally eliminate its own top agents like Robert Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein, assassinate all sorts of people* all over the globe, e.g. Iranian scientists and Dr Gerald Bull, the artillery inventor, as well as its own civilians and captured soldiers under the Hannibal Directive, which it is now confirmed they did on 7th October and afterwards, why would they baulk at killing judges?

    *The list of confirmed and alleged Israeli assassinations is a very long one; I can’t think of any other country that uses it extensively as a tool of politics, and of course it is yet another facet of their lawlessness and contempt for any kind of due procedure.

    • Tom Welsh

      “Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel’s Targeted Assassinations” by Ronen Bergman.

      A chunky 784 pages. Even the CIA can hardly have murdered more people. But then, who cares about Gentiles?

  • AG

    two really great items from Israel:
    1) In an interview with Hakol Baramah radio, Deputy Knesset Speaker Nissim Vaturi said he did not regret his November call for Israel to “stop being humane” and “burn Gaza now.”

    “I stand behind my words,” Vaturi said, according toThe Times of Israel. “It is better to burn down buildings rather than have soldiers harmed. There are no innocents there.”

    2) Meanwhile, leftist Israeli lawmaker Ofer Cassif is being targeted for removal from the Knesset after becoming the first parliamentarian to express support for the ICJ genocide case against his country.

    It is as Finkelstein tells Rabbani: These guys are completely nuts. Just like when they targeted an ambulance the very day before the hearings began. Killing 6 as JACK posted then.

    No better way to give the judges the finger.

    I assume people with such a mindset would have zero problem with dropping a nuke, unless they should fear retaliation.
    And scholars in Germany wonder about antisemitism these days?

    Remember Russia. But singling out Russians was absolutely ok. In fact mandatory.

    Not a single Israeli artist has been fired.

    Not a single Israeli artist has been coerced into rescinding their ties to Israel.

    wow. what a continent. what stupidity. what bullshit.

    • Tom Welsh

      “It is better to burn down buildings rather than have soldiers harmed”.

      A perfect example of Israeli thinking. “Soldiers” means “Israeli soldiers”. Hamas fighters are not human, so they are not “soldiers”.

      The Israelis project – and seem themselves to inhabit – a world not unlike that of the movie “Aliens”. A tiny handful of humans are surrounded by horrible alien monsters whose only purpose is to kill them – or worse. Their only course is to lay down continuous sheets of fire and explosions, killing everything that moves.

      (Note that, even in the movie, the soldiers lose).

      • glenn_nl

        TW: “A perfect example of Israeli thinking. “Soldiers” means “Israeli soldiers”. Hamas fighters are not human, so they are not “soldiers”.”

        Indeed, indeed. And furthermore, all Palestinians are Hamas. And since Hamas are not human, by definition neither is any Palestinian – so they all have to be destroyed or expelled to far away, to satisfy the universally established fact that…. all together now… “Israel Has The Right To Defend Itself”.

        Wonder if The Mail, Express, Torygraph and so on are going to be happy and welcoming to the hundreds of thousands of penniless (and traumatised) refugees from Palestine coming to Britain? After all, the UK government is highly complicit in this expulsion.

      • Clark

        “Note that, even in the movie, the soldiers lose”

        The soldiers lose because they’re blindly obedient to crap orders which assume human technology is invincible. But Ripley makes a difference because she’s brave, compassionate, independent and committed to facing facts.

        • AG

          yep. I would guess Cameron has a far more liberal political view than his former wife Bigelow. Albeit regarding Cameron´s recent work I would prefer her on artistic grounds.
          Naturally it is a typical Cowboy movie, with the company standing in for the railway barons, the capital which is bad. The soldiers after all are just doing their job like any military unit. Aliens are well the evil 500 nations and the settlers (!!!) are all dead by then.

          It is interesting however how the franchise developed into a reckognition of the alien species beyond beasts. Ripley, I think already in “Aliens” (or is it part 4 by Jeunet?), makes clear that at least those monsters don´t sell each other off and get each other killed over mere profit.
          I might be wrong but in the case of Palestine Cameron would stand with Gaza and Bigelow with Israel.

          p.s. thinking of the abducted child, Nute, that would bear resemblance with John Ford´s 1956 “The Searchers” which tells the story of a veteran (Wayne) getting back an abducted child from Indians. So far I see no space for Israel/Palestine there

  • Tom Welsh

    A couple of small edits would slightly improve this already superb article. Obviously oversights; it’s to Mr Murray’s enormous credit that there weren’t more. After the ordeal which he underwent, I am astonished that he was able to write such a masterful and detailed account – and even inject his own brand of dry humour.

    “South African ministers, he said, could not now deny the genocidal intent of their plain words”.

    I take it that should read “Israeli ministers”.

    “South Africa had framed this dispute in a series of Diplomatic Notes Verbale sent to the South African government and not satisfactorily replied to”.

    “South African” should presumably read “Israeli”.

    [ Mod: Quite right, Tom Welsh. Those excerpts aren’t entirely intelligible as written. It’s normally beyond a mod’s authority to alter the meaning of Craig’s prose – but on this occasion your recommendations make good sense (and concur with my own best guesses), so some tampering with the text is surely warranted. Thank you. ]

  • Tom Welsh

    The lamentable condition of the public gallery and its seating are of a piece with the meticulous care taken to make getting into the public gallery as nearly impossible as possible, and then as uncomfortable as possible. I was reminded of something I read a while ago. Oh yes: it was Mr Murray’s account of the public gallery at Julian Assange’s hearings in England.

    There is a well-known technique used by powerful men and women to give themselves every advantage in face to face encounters. The interview takes place in the silverback’s own office, where he (or she) sits comfortably in an imposing throne-like chair behind a huge, high desk with absolutely nothing on it – making it crystal clear that its only role is as a barrier or obstacle.

    In front of the desk, at some distance, the visitor who has been granted an audience is forced to sit in the only other chair – which is small, badly constructed, uncomfortable, low, and above all sloping from back to front so that its occupant keeps sliding forward.

    The powerful are known for never disdaining any advantage, no matter how small or unworthy.

    Incongruous and inappropriate as it might seem, I also think of this “Far Side” cartoon:–129126714286281105/

    In case you were wondering, the title should read “Inconvenience Stores”. There is no detail so tiny and significant that someone can’t be trusted to get it wrong.

    • harry law

      Thanks for the humour Tom, then Craig said “I had to be assertive and try to marshal the queue” everyone knows what this means, several months ago at a demonstration Craig approached a police car and yanked the door open, after looking into Craigs eye’s the innocent policemen inside had to call for assistance, at which point Craig let the Officers go. It was probably the case that Craig caused the officers to have involuntary bowel movements, this together with the destroyed door hinges caused the vehicle to be scrapped S/
      Keep up the good work Craig.

      • Tom Welsh

        Luckily for the forces of repression, Mr Murray’s inclination to physical violence is a good deal milder than the edge of his tongue. Somewhere amid the clouds, Pope, Swift, Voltaire and Mark Twain are smiling. And – whisper it not in Gath – is that a twitch of Gore Vidal’s lip?

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